BIA Parliament Day 2018
On Thursday 12 July, the same day the government published its Brexit White Paper, more than 35 senior representatives from UK life sciences companies convened in London for the BIA’s annual Parliament Day. As our flagship influencing event, Parliament Day facilitates important interactions between BIA members and policymakers across Westminster and Whitehall.
Throughout the day, small groups of BIA members met with individual policymakers as well as attending a lunch reception in the House of Lords and a workshop with the Office for Life Sciences. In total BIA members attended 22 meetings and met with the following:
- Lord Henley, the Minister responsible for life sciences in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- 8 MPs – including Tom Brake, Lib Dem spokesperson for Brexit; Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee and Vicky Ford MP, member of the Science and Technology Committee, Co-Chair of the APPG for Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions and former MEP for the East of England.
- 4 Members of the House of Lords – including Lord Drayson, also a member of the BIA Board and Chair and CEO of Drayson Technologies
- 27 Civil Servants – including Matthew Spears, the CEO of the Life Sciences Organisations, which sits in the Department for International Trade; Kristen McLeod, the Director of the Office for Life Sciences, Professor John Mattick, recently appointed CEO of Genomics England; and Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council
Many of the policymakers unable to join us on the day have agreed to meet with the BIA on an alternative date. Since Parliament Day, and as a direct result of our invitation to participate, the BIA has arranged meetings with the following:
- Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England
- Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury
- Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Accelerated Access Review
- Lord O’Shaughnessy, Minister responsible for Life Sciences in the Department for Health and Social Care
A lot has happened in the world of politics since our last Parliament Day in 2017 and much of it, such as the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and subsequent Sector Deal, will affect UK bioscience. This year’s Parliament Day meetings were an excellent opportunity for BIA members to share the sector’s views on these developments and to tell key decision makers what more needs to be done to allow UK bioscience companies to thrive. They also allowed an opportunity to discuss what will allow UK bioscience companies to compete internationally, despite the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit. Parliament day discussions focused on:
- Securing a Brexit deal that protects patients and the UK life science sector
- Unlocking long-term finance to support the growth of UK bioscience SMEs
- Delivering medicine access policies that keep pace with the UK’s pioneering science and innovation and are globally competitive
For policymakers, Parliament Day also offers a rare insight into the technologies of some of the UK’s most innovative companies and the benefits they provide for their constituents. The BIA will now follow-up with the policymakers we met to reinforce our key messages and to highlight the value our sector provides to UK health and wealth.